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The firefinches form a genus, Lagonosticta, of small seed-eating African birds in the family Estrildidae.

Red-billed firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Estrildidae
Subfamily: Estrildinae
Genus: Lagonosticta
Cabanis, 1851

11, see text

The genus was introduced by the German ornithologists Jean Cabanis in 1851.[1] The type species was subsequently designated as the African firefinch.[2] The name combines the Ancient Greek words lagōn "flank" and stiktos "spotted".[3] The genus Lagonosticta is sister to the brown twinspot which is placed in its own genus Clytospiza.[4]


The genus contains 11 species:[5]

Image Common Name Scientific name Distribution
  Red-billed firefinch Lagonosticta senegala Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Angola, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia, Cameroon, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia
  African firefinch Lagonosticta rubricata Senegal east to Ethiopia then south to the southern Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania south through Mozambique to the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
Landana firefinch Lagonosticta landanae southern Gabon and the Republic of Congo, western Democratic Republic of the Congo
  Jameson's firefinch Lagonosticta rhodopareia Angola, Botswana, Chad, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Mali firefinch Lagonosticta virata Western Africa
  Rock firefinch Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis central Nigeria
  Chad firefinch Lagonosticta umbrinodorsalis southwest Chad where it is fairly common and northeast Cameroon
  Black-bellied firefinch Lagonosticta rara Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Togo and Uganda
  Bar-breasted firefinch Lagonosticta rufopicta Gambia and southern Senegal east to western Uganda and eastern Kenya
  Brown firefinch Lagonosticta nitidula Angola, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, southern Tanzania and northern areas of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe
  Black-faced firefinch Lagonosticta larvata Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo and Uganda


  1. ^ Cabanis, Jean; Heine, Ferdinand (1860). Museum Heineanum : Verzeichniss der ornithologischen Sammlung des Oberamtmann Ferdinand Heine, auf Gut St. Burchard vor Halberstadt (in German and Latin). Volume 1. Halberstadt: R. Frantz. p. 171. |volume= has extra text (help)
  2. ^ Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, ed. (1968). Check-list of birds of the world. Volume 14. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 325. |volume= has extra text (help)
  3. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  4. ^ Olsson, Urban; Alström, Per (2020). "A comprehensive phylogeny and taxonomic evaluation of the waxbills (Aves: Estrildidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 146: 106757. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106757.
  5. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2021). "Waxbills, parrotfinches, munias, whydahs, Olive Warbler, accentors, pipits". IOC World Bird List Version 11.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 12 July 2021.